Electronic cigarette use as an aid to quit smoking in the representative Italian population PASSI survey

Giuseppe Gorini, Gianluigi Ferrante, Elisa Quarchioni, Valentina Minardi, Maria Masocco, Pirous Fateh-Moghadam, Stefano Campostrini, Paolo D'Argenio, Daniela Galeone

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This study explored electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use as an aid to quit smoking and compared abstinence rates for different quitting methods in a representative sample of the Italian population. In the 2014–2015 PASSI survey, the ongoing Italian behavioural risk factor surveillance system, 6112 adults who smoked and made at least one quit attempt in the previous 12 months, were categorized into three groups according to the method used in their most recent quit attempt: e-cigarette only, no aid, other quitting methods (medications; programmes delivered in smoking cessation services; other unspecified methods). The primary outcome was self-reported abstinence for a period ≥ 6 months, adjusted for potential confounders. Eleven percent used e-cigarettes only, 86% no aid, 3% other quitting methods. Smoking abstinence was reported among 9% of those using no aid; 8% of e-cigarette users; 15% of those using other methods. No significant differences in abstinence were observed for e-cigarette users compared with those reporting no aid (adjusted Prevalence Ratio [aPR] = 0.81; 95%Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.58–1.14). Changing the reference group to e-cigarette users, those using other quitting methods were significantly more likely to report abstinence than e-cigarette users (aPR = 1.76; 95%CI = 1.07–2.88). One out of ten smokers who attempted to quit in 2014–2015 in Italy used e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes users were as likely to report abstinence as those using no aid, but were less likely to report abstinence than users of established quitting methods. Further studies are needed to understand the relationship between e-cigarette types used to quit and abstinence rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Cross-sectional survey
  • E-cigarettes
  • Italy
  • Smoking cessation method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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